The Dallas Cowboys are easily one of the more talented teams in the NFL but underachieved more often than not.
Questions surround the team at a point of the offseason where most teams are preparing for the draft, and the Cowboys are in an interesting situation.

The team has 31 projected free agents, but three names are in every fans’ conversation. Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Byron Jones lead the pack of free agents, but will Cowboys Amari Cooper to stay in town?

Amari Cooper Dallas Cowboys
Photo: CBS Sports

Cooper has been a dynamo at times, and then turned around and went ghost on the team in critical parts of the season that saw an 8-8 finish. Even though he had games where he basically disappeared, he was still a big reason the offense finished as the top offense in 2019. He amassed 80 or more receiving yards in 9 games in 2019 but also recorded three or fewer receptions and less than 40 yards receiving, causing everyone to ask the biggest question of all…

Is Amari Cooper a true number one wide receiver?

Let’s compare Cooper’s numbers to other number one wide receiver in the NFL on 3rd downs in 2019 according to pro football reference.

  •  Amari Cooper – 18/36 receptions, 50% catch rate, 312 yards
  •  Michael Thomas – 34/47 receptions, 72% catch rate, 442 yards
  •  Julio Jones – 37/52 receptions, 71% catch rate, 557 yards
  •  Keenan Allen – 30/46 receptions, 65% catch rate, 380 yards
  •  DeAndre Hopkins – 29/43 receptions, 67% catch rate, 271 yards
  •  Tyreek Hill – 20/27 receptions, 74% catch rate, 317 yards

Cooper’s numbers pale in comparison when stacked up against other true numbers one receivers, and now he’s staring down the barrel of a contract negotiation that has gone nowhere since the beginning of the Cowboy’s offseason. Right now the team has a choice to make and it’s whether to keep their star receiver.

Cooper and his camp will likely be vying for a yearly salary around the $17-20M for 4-5 years on the contract. The top receivers are making in the upwards of $16.5M and higher, with Julio Jones set to make $22M this upcoming season.

Here are the top 5 salaries going into the 2020 season, according to

  1.  Julio Jones – $22M
  2.  Michael Thomas – $19M
  3.  Tyreek Hill – $18M
  4.  Odell Beckham, Jr. – $18M
  5.  Mike Evans – $16.5M

Where does Cooper fit in this list? Does he even fit in at all? If Cooper is franchise tagged, then he would likely play for a price of around $18M this season. If he has another 1,000-yard campaign, his price will most definitely go up toward the $20M range, likely wanting to reset the market for a wide receiver contract.

With about $77M in cap space, the Cowboys will need to negotiate to the best of their abilities to work out the best deal to save the team enough money to spread around wit Dak and company, but Cooper is obviously going to fight for every penny he’s worth.

The pressure is on Dallas, however, as they were willing to part with a 2019 first-round pick for Cooper.

Should Cooper get the extension?

Most people would feel the Cowboys are obligated to pay Cooper simply because of the trade, but if they let him walk, that means they have complete trust in Michael Gallup to become the new number one target on the offense.

March 10th is the deadline to decide on who the team will use the franchise tag on, and it may be the deadline for whether Cooper or Dak get a contract done.
The Cowboys are in a predicament, but knowing Jerry Jones and company, they have one or two more tricks up their sleeve this offseason.

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